Residents and Decision Makers Debate North Florida Coal-Fired Power Plant

One of the ideas on the table is a new coal-fired power plant. More than 100 people showed up at City Hall Wednesday night to say “no way.”

Ninety-five percent of Tallahassee power comes from natural gas, and city utilities officials say that's too much to bargain on, especially as the cost of natural gas rises.

Kevin Wailes of Tallahassee City Utilities says, "Something that has been a priority for the city for a long time is trying to find diversity, different sources of energy, sources to make sure that potentially volatile markets don't have adverse affects on the customers and that we can mitigate that volatility."

That diversity could come from a coal-fired power plant.

Several other utility companies have joined forces to build the facility, giving Tallahassee a chance to hop on board, but hundreds of Tallahassee residents went before Tallahassee city commissioners, saying it's a bad idea.

There's concern over health issues and whether it's a cost effective option.

Ed Deaton, a concerned citizen, says, "We're moving in the wrong direction. We need to be moving further towards clean energy, not away from clean energy.”

Kevin Wailes says the city continues to look into those other options and will continue to do so, whether the commission moves forward with the coal plant or not.

We got word from City Hall that people were still lined up to talk as late as 9 p.m. City commissioners will vote whether to take part in the beginning stages of the coal plant project July 13.